Growing This Funky Plant

This is the first time Blueboots Farm tried planting Daikon radish and we are pleasantly surprise how easily and quickly they grow. We started planting the radish seeds in seed trays filled with good compost, cocopeat and rice husks. After 2 weeks, the seeds sprouted baby seedlings ready to be planted into the soil. Alternatively, you can also plant the seed directly into the soil 1.5 cm deep.

Daikon radishes need more space than garden radishes. About 15 cm apart from seedling to seedling and 50 cm apart between rows will give sufficient space and nutrition for the radish to grow up 40 cm long and 8 cm wide!

The picture shown above is about 40 days old daikon radish. We are planning to harvest the daikon radishes when they are 60 – 70 days old. Let’s see how much bigger and bolder they will grow up to!

Daikon radish can be turned to many versatile dishes. From eating it raw in salads, boiling it in soup, roasting it with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper to pickling and fermenting the radish for tangy and crunchy accompaniment to that Korean fried chicken. Oh, the list go on… how can you not love this wonderful produce?

The Season’s Best Produce

We have about 60 trees of clove trees in our mini forest. In June, the forest will be infatuated with the smell of cloves. It takes skills and experience to harvest cloves as the tree is tall and we do not want to break its branches. Farmers uses wooden ladder and a basket trap to collect the cloves. After harvesting, we will dry the freshly-picked cloves under the sun for about a week.

Clove has been an important commodity for Indonesia since the trading era. It is one of the most sought after spices for its usage as medicine to cigars. Native to Maluku island, which commonly called as the Spice Island, we are lucky to have clove in our mini forest to learn from.

4 Random Things that Grow in Blueboots Farm

At times when we wander around our farm, we found some things that we could not remember we have planted before. Without much care and maintenance, these plants grew healthily and productively to give us abundant food to eat. Our farmers sometimes came up with impromptu recipes around the day’s produce to become our meal that day. It is rather satisfying to eat from our land’s own produce and hopefully we can share more fresh produces to you!
Here are some things that we harvested this morning: lots and lots of spicy green chillis, crunchy and sweet purple eggplant, refreshing salad eggplant (terong lalap) and aromatic yellow passion fruits. We are thinking maybe some grill the eggplants with some soy sauce and green chilli paste, have the salad eggplant fresh with sambal and turn the passion fruit into a sauce for ice cream on a hot day! Perhaps you have any thoughts on what we should turn these produces into?

5 Tricks to Improve Your Soil

Ever wanting to have an edible garden of your own? Home garden filled with chillis, tomatoes, herbs and leafy vegetables at hand’s reach? Before going into details on how to plant, we need to improve the structure and fertility of the soil before planting plants into the ground. Like humans, plants need a balanced diet of beneficial microbes, minerals and nutrients. Here is 5 easy tricks you can apply:

  1. Adding composts, composts & composts! Adding composts to current soil in the garden is the easiest and sure way to improve fertility and structure in the soil. Adding composts will enhance the water retention of the soil and increase the activity and number of soil organism. You can get supply of composts from local organic garden stores or local farms that you can contact. Composts are decomposed organic matter made from kitchen waste, animal manures, unused green leaves and dried leaves. All piled up to decompose till the pile becomes a dark and soft black soil called humus.
  1. Make permanent raised garden beds. Making raised beds will ensure that nutrients do not easily run-off from where the plants will be planted. It also prevents from stepping on garden beds that will compact and destroy soil structure. Raised beds also increases the drainage of excess water during heavy rainy season
  1. Planting cover crops on exposed soil. Recommended cover crops are plants from the legume family such as gotu kola (antanan), peanuts and clover. Legume plants as mentioned grow easily in any type of soil and are purposely planted to condition infertile soil. These plants capture nitrogen from the air and add free nitrogen into the soil. They also can also can be a good source of greens/biomass needed for composting or chopped off and drop it and mix it to the soil so as to add organic matter. Planting cover crops will also retain water needed for plants and microbial activity.
  1. Reduce tillage on soil. Heavy tillage is needed only in the beginning part of gardening when deep-rooted weeds like teki and alang-alang need to be taken out of the soil. However, after that tillage should not be frequently done as it will destroy the natural soil layer/ structure you have built over time. In order to loosen soil, a broad fork can be used to poke through the soil in a slow motion without bringing much disruption.
  1. Never use herbicide or pesticide. Using herbicide or pesticide will instantly kill millions or billions of soil organism that we need for growth of healthy plants through a whole biodiversity and activities of the soil web system. It will need a great amount of time again to achieve to its healthy state again.

How These Worms Do Wonder in Blueboots Farm

Worms are small creatures living on earth that we humans often take for granted of. They play a vital role in the ecosystem at the bottom of the food chain that indirectly sustain our food growing system. At Blueboots Farm, the worms are appreciated for their massive contribution in achieving a holistic integral system our farm will like to achieve. Here are some of the roles of worms:

  1. They help break down organic materials to good compost needed to feed the soil called worm casting or vermicast.
  2. They aerate soil needed for plants and other organism living in the soil
  3. Helps bring down nutrients to deeper level of the soil that is closer to plant roots
  4. Worms as food for chickens and other birds around the area

Now that we know that these worms are so useful, everyone at Blueboots Farm is taking care of them and making sure that they too, are growing healthily to keep the whole process works well!